Petito and Laundrie

Right-Handed Brian Laundrie’s Self-Inflicted Fatal Bullet Entered Left Side of Skull; Remains Were in ‘Plain Sight’: Autopsy Report

Authorities in Florida have released the autopsy and forensic reports for Brian Laundrie, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in a Florida nature reserve this fall.

When Laundrie, 23, was found dead of an apparent suicide, police had been searching for him in connection to the death of his girlfriend Gabby Petito, whose remains were found in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Forest in September. Police were never able to speak to Laundrie before his death.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Laundrie and Petito set out for a cross-country road trip in the early summer of 2020, and Laundrie returned to his parents’ North Port, Florida, home without Petito on September 1. By that time, Petito’s family had become concerned about their daughter’s well-being, but were unable to file a formal missing persons report until September 11. Petito’s parents have said that Laundrie’s family did not return calls and messages during the time Petito’s worried family was trying to reach her.

For weeks before the skeletal remains were discovered within the Carlton Nature Reserve on October 20, just over a month after Petito’s body was found, police had been searching the nature reserve for Laundrie.  The newly-released documents show that Laundrie’s “skeletal remains and personal effects were in plain sight and scattered upon the dirt ground,” at a scene that “included trees and overgrown vegetation that had total exposure to the outside elements. A winding, walking and vehicular trail ran in a north/northeast direction up to and through the scene.”

It is not immediately clear from the report how or why investigators did not discover the remains earlier. The documents strongly indicate Laundrie died some time before his body was found, as there was no soft tissue left on the skeleton, and state that “multiple long bones including bones of the arms and legs all disclose carnivore predation activity characterized by gnawing and chewing.” Investigators reportedly believe that wild dogs, coyotes, and/or vermin were among the animal predators that disturbed the remains.

The medical examiner’s report shows that Brian Laundrie killed himself with a single-bullet, which entered his skull on the left side. The documents show that Laundrie’s sister confirmed to investigators that Laundrie was “right-hand dominant,” suggesting that Laundrie shot himself with his non-dominant hand.

Investigators believe that Laundrie is responsible for Gabby Petito’s strangulation death. Petito lost contact with her family in late August, suggesting that she, like Laundrie, may have been dead for weeks before investigators found her remains.

Read the full autopy and forensic reports here: